Derrick Rose says he’s been working on shooting range

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When Derrick Rose was out with his torn ACL, Tim Hardaway — who went through the same injury as a player — said Rose needed to use the time to become a better jump shooter. Hardaway should know, he had some of his best years after he returned.

Rose will be back at the start of the season but is currently touring through Asia promoting his adidas shoes, and as you would expect at every turn he gets asked about his return.

While in the Philippines he said his aggressive style of play is not changing, but that he has worked to add range to his jump shot, as reported by ABS-CBNNews.

“No,” Rose answered when asked if there will be a “tweak” in his game this season. “I think the only thing that’s gonna change is my confidence level….

“As far as shooting, I think that’s the only thing I need to work on,” he said. “The only thing I’ve been working on is shooting longer shots, because I think if people have to come out and stick with me a little bit further, it opens up the court a little bit more, and give me enough room to create and get my guys open.”

“I think I want to be more efficient when I go out there and play,” Rose added. “(I want to) be able to control the whole game, with me being the point guard and having the ball for majority of the game.”

Rose shot 31.2 percent from three the last season he played, and 33 percent the season before that. He doesn’t need to become a Steve Nash level jump shooter, but Rose is right that his ability to create and get space will open up if he becomes a more credible threat from distance.

Expectations are high in Chicago as this is a team that won 45 games and got to the second round of the playoffs without their MVP Rose. The Bulls have the defense, they have the role players, but can they bring that all together to beat teams like the Heat or Pacers? We’ve been waiting a couple years, hopefully these playoffs we can find out.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.